Boris Johnson 'gay cure' bus advert ban to be investigated by High Court

The Chritsian group The Core Issues Trust has accused Boris Johnson of banning the advert for political gain

Kashmira Gander@kashmiragander
Monday 27 January 2014 16:22
London Mayor Boris Johnson is to face a High Court probe over allegations he banned an advert to boost his election campaign.
London Mayor Boris Johnson is to face a High Court probe over allegations he banned an advert to boost his election campaign.

The banning of an advert from London which suggests it is possible to “move out of homosexuality” should be investigated, the appeal court has ruled.

London Mayor Boris Johnson is to face the High Court after The Core Issues Trust charity said he unlawfully used his position as the Chairman of Transport for London (TfL) to ban the advert in 2012 for political gain.

The Court of Appeal ruled on Monday that fresh evidence means Mr Johnson must be investigated as to whether he acted “for an improper purpose”.

Lord Dyson, the second most senior judge in England and Wales, said an email shows the Mayor asked TfL to pull the advert just before the 2012 mayoral elections.

Lord Dyson added that the need for examination was made greater because the email shows that the Mayor’s office contacted the Guardian newspaper “immediately, apparently in order to make political capital out of the story".

Arrangements were also been made for the mayor to appear at hustings organised by lesbian, gay, and bi-sexual rights charity Stonewall the following day.

If Mr Johnson loses and the ban is overturned, the court said it would be lawful for TfL to impose a fresh ban on the advert because it may cause widespread or serious offence.

T-shirts with the same Stonewall slogan that was featured on London buses

The advert in question reads: "Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!" in response to a bus poster campaign by Stonewall which read: "Some people are gay. Get over it!"

Mr Johnson said the Core Issues ad was ”offensive to gays“ and could lead to retaliation against the wider Christian community.

Core Issues Trust and its linked body the Christian Legal Centre hailed today's ruling as a ”significant victory“.

A TfL spokewoman said: ”We welcome the Court of Appeal's judgment that a decision not to run the Core Issues Trust's advertisement was justified.

We shall be pleased to comply with any requirements the court may have for the supply of further evidence.“

Mr Johnson's official spokesman said: ”The mayor is pleased that the court has upheld TfL's right to ban the Core Issues Trust advert.

“He agreed with TfL's ban at the time and will continue to support the banning of adverts that breach advertising policy and cause widespread public offence, as this advert clearly did.”

Additional reporting by Press Association